“Follow the way of love and eagerly desire spiritual gifts, especially the gift of prophecy.” — 1 Corinthians 14:1 (NIV84)
Three aspects of this verse are important to capture. First, Paul entreated us all to follow the way of love. When? He would answer always! There is never a time that we as Christians are not bound to follow the way of love. It is the way that God chooses to deal with us at all times. It must be the way we are willing to live out our lives. Remember what Jesus said, “They will know you are my disciples if you [what? — that’s right!] love one another.” Love is that which sustains our faith and hope, and it also must be that which empowers our daily lives.
Second, for the second time, Paul encouraged us to desire spiritual gifts. He would have us digging into God’s Word and developing a prayer life with God in which He would reveal to us what our spiritual gifts are. Only then can we find our rightful place in the body of Christ. We have been gifted by the Holy Spirit for work in His kingdom. Let’s commit ourselves to the discovery of what those gifts might be.
Third, prophecy is supreme! Being able to communicate the truths of the kingdom of God with others is the greatest gift of all because it grows the kingdom. The gifts of tongues, healing, hospitality, etc., all have their place. All are important features in the body of Christ. But all those gifts serve to edify oneself, or meet a physical, earthly need. Only the gift of prophecy saves the lost and the dying and sets the captives free. Listen, when I say prophecy, I’m not talking about preachers. I mean Christians who study God’s Word and the world they live in so they can witness to the Christian faith with the truth and authority of God’s Word.